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  Fiscal Conservative's Star Rises in [SC] Senate Bid
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ContributorTony82 
Last EditedTony82  Jun 21, 2004 10:40am
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MediaNewspaper - Washington Post
News DateMonday, June 21, 2004 06:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionIn a state that has lost more than 57,000 manufacturing jobs since 2001, many to foreign competition, a resolute message on free trade might be considered problematic for a political candidate.

In the ninth-poorest state in the nation, a candidate who openly worries that the poor are not paying enough taxes could be expected to face a stiff political head wind.

In a state where an already substantial retiree population will surge 19 percent this decade, a politician championing one of the most dramatic Social Security privatization proposals in Washington could expect some problems.

But that politician, Rep. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), has not only gained stature in his quest for the Republican nomination to represent South Carolina in the Senate. He is also now seen by many Republicans as the party's best shot at snatching that seat from the Democrats in November, when its occupant, Sen. Ernest F. Hollings, retires.

When DeMint faces former governor David Beasley on Tuesday in a runoff for the GOP nomination, he carries with him the hopes of ardent economic conservatives in Washington, who see the three-term congressman as a potential champion. If DeMint triumphs in November, his supporters say, he would embolden all conservatives to push for dramatic changes in Social Security and tax laws, while holding firm on free trade.
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